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Donald Hughan named chair of WaterAble

WaterAble, a network for people with disability and their allies in the Victorian water industry, has named Donald Hughan as their new chair.

Donald, who works as a business support officer at Goulburn-Murray Water, had been deputy chair of WaterAble since September 10 last year.

“I feel proud to be able to chair a group that advocates for disability inclusion in the water industry,” he said.

Donald was born with spina bifida, and as a result is paralysed from the waist down and is wheelchair bound.

“I face challenges every day but I don’t let that stop me,” he said. “For me, joining WaterAble is about supporting and encouraging people with disability to be the best they can be and not allowing any barriers get in way of them doing things that they want to do.”

Hughan has been an active member of WaterAble, speaking at events and contributing to the celebration of days such as the International Day for People with Disability and VicWater Connect conference. He has also been a volunteer with the Rochester unit of the SES since 2015.

“We have engaged with water industry leaders specifically to help raise awareness and increase focus on disability inclusion in the industry,” he said.

WaterAble held its first AGM earlier this month, where members heard about GMW launching its own All-Abilities network (an employee-led disability inclusion network) during the year.

“Melbourne Water led the way on this and we’re excited to see some other organisations creating their own networks too,” Donald said.

“As chair, I’d like to keep on raising awareness of WaterAble and encourage water corporations to embrace disability inclusiveness and show them what people with disabilities can do.”

All 18 water corporations from the Victorian water industry have partnered with WaterAble.